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Many Jedi seem to wear a hooded robe. Ditto some Sith (Emperor Palpatine, for one).

See the gallery below for semi-random samples.

Why?

Obi-Wan Kenobi faces Vader with his lightsaber held in front.  The cowl of his robe is over his head.

The Emperor cackles at Luke, his face shadowed by his hood.

Luke walks into Jabba's palace, the hood of his robe thrown back.

Darth Maul glares at Qui-Gon on Tatooine, his red-and-black face contrasting against the black of his robe and hood.

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    Due to it's relationship to electrostatic forces, excessive use of The Force can lead to exceptionally bad hair days. Darth Maul used to sport a Mullet, and Palpatine's hair was pretty bad even when he couldn't hide it.
    – Doobi
    Feb 28, 2012 at 22:52
  • 1
    Those are hooded capes (or just "hood") and hooded robes (AKA a "cowl"), not hoodies (which are hooded sweatshirt). Hoods and cowls are traditional garments that have existed for centuries. Hoodies are what you see at the mall and a fairly modern invention. Feb 29, 2012 at 9:43
  • Are we ever shown umbrellas in-universe? If not, they wear hoods in case it rains!
    – Ciacciu
    Jan 16, 2015 at 15:04

3 Answers 3

48

I would say that the force is a religion, from a Sith, or Jedi point of view intense focus and control must be gained to control the force. The functional difference between the two is which emotions drive them.

In essence all force trainees are religious, and nearly monastic in nature. This is proven by the fact that they are often found living in secluded, quiet areas. The key word is "control" and the hooded robe has been the symbol of monastic orders for generations, with good reason.

A hood blocks out needless confusion, it can focus the wearer, while simultaneously shrouding them from others. As a force adept they can pick and choose who they are exposed to, and more importantly, who is exposed to them. The act of removing a hood is a gesture of recognition and engagement (such as both Obi Wan and Darth Maul do upon meeting with someone they intend to interact with). Likewise hiding behind the hood gives a force adept a sense of distant concealment, so that they can go about their lofty goals with minimal interference or questioning.

Either that or they are all space Wizards, take your pick.

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    I prefer Space Wizard.
    – Xantec
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:09
  • 3
    So do I! I have often said that Star Wars is a fantasy in space, not a Sci Fi :D
    – Ashterothi
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:10
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    @Pyrodante Midichlorians make it sci-fi <wink wink nudge nudge> =D
    – Izkata
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:02
  • @Izkata - I thougtht it was LucasPhysics? Feb 29, 2012 at 2:06
  • you realize 90% of your upvotes relate to your last sentence? awesome
    – zipquincy
    Jul 27, 2012 at 14:45
9

In universe, I think Pyrodante has it...

Out of universe? The hooded look is one most people associate with Monks, Religious zealots, wise old men in caves, Wizards and the like.. Lucas was sticking to a an instantly recognizable stereotype to cause people to automatically make certain assumptions, most of which are consistent with Jedi.

  • Wise
  • Secretive
  • Celibate (until the new order)
  • Possibly Powerful (even monks were, in the middle ages)
  • Mysterious
  • etc.
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    Strange old wise men in caves distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Feb 29, 2012 at 2:08
1

The Emperor's hoodie was, at least according to the Star Wars: Visual Dictionary, intended to hide his face from his followers.

Head and shoulders of the Emperor, with his face almost entirely hidden by his cowl.  The picture has the captions "Hood to hide face" and "Simple cloak."

And in the Attack of the Clones novelisation, it's apparent that Obi-Wan uses his hood to cover his face from the elements:

At last Obi-Wan put his fighter down on the designated landing pad. He pulled his hood up tight over him, then slid back his canopy and scrambled out against the wind and the rain, rushing across the permacrete to a tower across the way. A door slid open before him, spilling out brilliant light, and he went through, crossing into a brightly lit white room.

“Master Jedi, so good to see you,” came a melodic voice.

Obi-Wan pushed back his hood, which had offered little protection from the driving rain, and brushed the water from his hair. Wiping his face, he turned to face the speaker, and then he paused, caught by the image of the Kaminoan.

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